Motion Of The Ocean
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, Palm Coast, Florida
We were exploring northeastern Florida after our last art appearance of 2011. This mid-morning photograph was taken of the coquina rock formations. These are part of the Anastasia formation, which is the largest outcropping of coquina rock in the Atlantic Ocean and stretches from Saint Augustine south to Palm Beach County. It was formed in the Pleistocene era (twelve thousand to 2.5 million years ago). The Nature Conservancy’s Blowing Rocks Preserve (on the barrier island, Jupiter Island, across the Indian River from Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Palm Beach County) is another excellent spot to see this formation.
Nancy wanted to capture the play of the water among the rocks of these unique formations. (It is also interesting to note that the gently sloping beach and surf lines could give the illusion that the horizon is not level.)
As you slow down your shutter speed, the effect on water goes beyond motion blur, through smoothing and streaking, and into fog-like effects. But Nancy didn't have a neutral-density filter when this shot was taken, so all she could do was attach a polarizer filter, choose the small aperture and low ISO, and hope for the best. She started with a shutter speed of 1/15 second, but could only work down to 1/4 second before she started clipping the highlights. Then we brought the exposure back down more than one stop in post-processing. (Although adjusting your settings to push the histogram to the right, and then bringing it back to the left in post-processing is an effective way to reduce noise, that isn't usually a problem when the ISO is low. Here the technique is used only to lower shutter speed.)
Photographic details: Canon EOS 7D camera w/ EF 16-35 f/2.8 L USM autofocus lens set at 16mm. Flash was not used. Camera was on f/22 for 1/4 sec at ISO 200. Circular polarizer was used to restrict light and exposure was decreased 1.2 stops in postprocessing.
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